Dow plans zero emissions ethylene complex

Article by Adam Duckett

DOW plans to create the world’s first net-zero emissions ethylene and derivatives complex, through an expansion and retrofitting of its Fort Saskatchewan site in Alberta, Canada.

The investment will more than triple ethylene and polyethylene capacity at the site while the use of CCS will capture all scope 1 and 2 emissions from operations and energy use.  The chemicals major says its new ethylene cracker will use highly-efficient furnace design and will be integrated with other facilities on site to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The cracker will add 1.8m t/y of capacity in a phased approach to 2030, enabling the site to produce around 3.2m t/y of low-carbon polyethylene and ethylene derivatives. The production process will involve converting cracker off-gas into hydrogen as a clean fuel for use in the production process, and CO2 will be captured and transported for off-site storage.

Dow says the carbon reduction efforts build on those from its most recently commissioned cracker – the Texas-9 cracker in Freeport, US. Dow says the cracker, which started operations in 2017, operates at 65% lower conversion cost and up to 60% lower CO2 emissions intensity than the average cracker in its fleet. Dow estimates that the Fort Saskatchewan project can be completed with an approximately 15% lower capital intensity than Texas-9.

The investment awaits approval by Dow’s board and authorities. If approved, it will decarbonise 20% of Dow’s global ethylene capacity while increasing polyethylene output by 15%.

"Alberta's support for circular hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure are essential to enabling us to develop this net-zero carbon emissions manufacturing facility," said Dow CEO Jim Fitterling. "Canada's support for this type of investment can serve as a model for how government investment can encourage the development and accelerate adoption of emissions-avoiding technologies and solutions."

Last year, Dow set targets to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.